Comment, Retail

Why lighting manufacturers and retail designers must listen to each other

British high streets would benefit from lighting manufacturers having earlier discussions with retail designers, Martyn Wherry believes

Lighting in any environment is an essential part of the design process, but in retail it can contribute to the difference between a successful and profitable business and one that just mingles with the competition.

More often than not, lighting manufacturers are kept well away from in-house retail design teams. This is disappointing because the UK has a phenomenal lighting industry with some incredibly knowledgeable people who could greatly add to the discussions at the earliest stage.

Lighting manufacturers are often kept well away from in-house retail design teams”

Having met some retail design people and spent time walking around stores with them, it is clear that they know what they want to see, but understanding how to achieve this is often outside their field of expertise.

This isn’t a derogatory comment in any way, it’s simply a fact that these talented people clearly understand the retail space and how it relates to their customers, but all too often lack experience in lighting technology terms that would help them understand the effect that different light sources and systems will have on the finishes and design they have spent so much time and, indeed, money on.

As a manufacturer of luminaires and control systems working in the retail sector, we frequently have a great relationship with the in-house engineering teams coming up with solutions that we all believe will work well. However these proposals are then all too often questioned by the retail designers because they feel the solution doesn’t fit the ‘look and feel’ they are trying to create. Earlier interaction between lighting engineers and retail designers would improve the communication of what each party is trying to achieve.

The UK’s lighting industry is crying out to be involved with the best retail businesses so we can offer both retail design and engineering teams a wealth of experience and advice at the earliest stages of the design process to create the most effective retail lighting solutions that enhance products and attract customers, and ultimately increase sales.


Martyn Wherry is a director at UK manufacturer Luxonic Lighting